The holiday is over.
Sam has been at school for two weeks now, but since he takes the bus down to Aylesbury, it hasn't made much difference, to be honest. Yes, I know I should be saying how much I miss him, but the difference between Sam at school and Sam hiding out in his bedroom is pretty negligible. However, Juliette has started school this week – at the local school in Buckingham, (a sports specialist college – how perfect is that?) and so Real Life has now interrupted the idyll.
This is how my mornings go.
Wake up in the dark, against every instinct telling me that this is hibernation time, haul self out of bed, straight into Ugg boots and blanket dressing gown, but it's still freezing cold as heating has only just switched on. Eat, dress, everybody too numbed with cold to communicate properly. Glance at Facebook and decide to de-friend all Brisbane friends as they are all complaining about being Hot and Having to Lie in the Pool with Iced Drinks or spend the Day at the Cinema.
Go outside into minus 4 degrees, to attack windscreen with ice scraper. By the time windscreen is clear, hands are so cold that they hurt, in spite of gloves. Steering wheel at minus10 degrees, but, owing to neighbour's warnings of black ice on road, do not have confidence to drive without gloves. Daughter, looking edible in new English School girl's uniform, (infinitely better than Brisbane sailor suit for three year olds version that they make teenage girls wear) but also much too cold, because, at age fourteen, still needs to be told to put on gloves, coat, “I-didn't-realise-it-was-going-to-be-this-cold!”
Think of this time last January, when one was swimming in one's own pool, looking up between strokes, at the bright, clear blue sky, the fountaining pink bougainvillea, nostrils sucking in the scent of ripening mangoes, and the passion fruit from the vine growing round the pool fence, listening to the squabbling of Cockatoos and lorikeets in the lemon tree.*
Grit my teeth – I have to, in order to stop them shattering each other as they chatter - reverse out of driveway, down narrow lane, betwixt thatched cottages powdered with icing sugar like something out of Hansel and Gretel, then out onto the main road...
And the sun is coming up, a glowing, coppery ball, firing the fields and hedges with pink and gold light, a landscape that has been powdered with crisp ice. Leafless branches of trees like cracks on an old painting against the pale blue sky, where clouds are swirled like a dancer's wake. And I think: “hmm, maybe it's not all bad, then.”
|View from back window - doesn't even begin to show what it really looks like, but in order to do so, would have to go outside and am not prepared to do that - even for you!|
*Actually, this time last January, one was lying on couch shivering with fever after contracting dysentery in Vanuatu. But one won't dwell on that.